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May sanctions: US gives Russia and its partners the cue

Author : Georgiy Kuhaleyshvili

American sanctions hit the foreign enterprises that supply technologies and services to the countries that might manufacture weapons of mass destruction, cruise, and ballistic missiles
11:20, 27 May 2019

Open source

This month, the United States has elaborated three packages of sanctions against Russia. On May 16, they imposed sanctions against Abuzayd Vismuradov, the commander of the "Terek" Chechen special response detachment, Ruslan Geremeyev, former battalion commander, Sergei Kossiyev, the head of reformatory colony No. 7 in Karelia, as well as Elena Trykula and Gennadiy Karlov, members of the Investigative Committee of Russia in accordance with The Magnitsky Act of 2012, which provides for restrictive measures for Russians involved in the violation of human rights.

The US Treasury suspect these Russian citizens of murder and torture. The sanctions provide for the freezing of assets of these Russians in the United States. US citizens are not allowed to be engaged in transactions with these assets. On May 21, during his visit to Kyiv, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said that in the near future sanctions would be imposed on companies taking part in the implementation of Russian Nord Stream 2 project.

Related: Zelensky had phone conversation with Merkel

The document provides for sanctions against foreign enterprises that supply technologies and services to the countries that might manufacture weapons of mass destruction, cruise, and ballistic missiles. New and planned sanctions are a response to the US leadership of Russia and its partners, who still refuse to make concessions to the Americans.

The Ukrainian side of the question

It was no coincidence that minister Perry shared his plans to impose sanctions on companies participating in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project on the second day after the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky, newly elected President of Ukraine.

During talks with Perry, US State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, and Senator Ron Johnson, Ukraine’s President urged Americans to continue tightening sanctions against Russia. Also at the meeting with the European Commissioner for Energy Maroš Šefčovič, Zelensky said that he was counting on EU support in opposing Nord Stream 2 construction and on prolonging anti-Russian sanctions.

On May 23, the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a resolution condemning Russia's aggression in Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea. The document confirms the US intention to continue the policy of anti-Russian sanctions, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is being touted as a threat to Europe’s security and economic stability in Ukraine.

 

Related: We implement 'Rotterdam +,' while they have 'Rotterdam –,' - Zelensky at iForum

US new sanctions mean that regardless of the change of power in Kyiv, it would continue to exert pressure on Russia until Putin agrees to conduct negotiations and agree to end the aggression in eastern Ukraine.

Americans reinforce Zelensky’s position in the event of negotiations with Moscow on the Donbas and Crimea. The new president is considering the possibility of holding a referendum on reaching peace agreements with Russia. At the same time, the Russian leadership is not eager to negotiate with Kyiv.

On March 21, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned Zelensky’s appeals to the US and the EU to continue the policy of anti-Russian sanctions and stressed that the normalization of bilateral relations is possible when Ukraine unilaterally fulfills the Minsk agreements.

This is a great risk for our country. If the Ukrainian units are the first to withdraw from the demarcation line, there are no guarantees that their positions will not be taken by the illegal armed formations.

Germany's position

The Americans did not specifically tie the new sanctions to the situation in the Donbas, since Zelensky and Putin had not negotiated yet, but announced a new package of sanctions against companies involved in the implementation of Nord Stream 2, in order to create a nerve-itchy situation for Russia.

The construction of the Nord Stream 2 is no less a painful issue for Ukraine than Russia's aggression. If the pipeline is built, the transit of natural gas from Russia through the gas transmission system of Ukraine will be significantly reduced. Our economy will lose revenue of $ 3 billion a year.

Related: Russia responds to threats of Ukraine to attain Hamburg sanctions

Germany is interested in taking on the role of Ukraine and making a profit from large volumes of transit of Russian natural gas to Europe. Berlin is the largest buyer of Russian natural gas in the European Union. The United States has repeatedly urged Germany to reduce gas dependence on Russia.

Related: Germany stands against sanctioning Nord Stream 2 companies

The US is interested in reducing Russian influence in Europe, which can use the gas dependence of European countries as an instrument of political blackmail. It is in their interest that EU member states, including Germany, diversify the import of natural gas. Among the EU member states, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Norway have a critical position on the Nord Stream 2 construction.

Some European countries are making efforts to reduce dependence on Russian gas. Recently, Bulgaria and Greece announced the start of construction of a gas pipeline as part of the implementation of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline project for the supply of natural gas from Azerbaijan. If the project is successful, Bulgaria will be able to buy 30% of natural gas in Azerbaijan.

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Romania and Hungary have been working on the possibility of connecting the section of the unfinished Nabucco gas pipeline along the Arad-Szeged route, which connects the gas distribution systems of the two countries to the natural gas field on the Neptun block in the Black Sea. The European Commission is going to allocate 215 million euros to finance the construction of the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which will connect the fields in Norway with the gas market in Denmark and Poland.

However, the United States itself is acting situationally on the issue of energy supplies from Russia. Despite the demands for Europe to reduce energy dependence on Russia, Americans have recently increased imports of Russian oil. In the first five months of 2019, they bought 5 million barrels of oil and oil products in Russia, while for the whole 2018, they bought 7.51 million barrels, and 1.58in 2017,

Missile crisis

New sanctions against Russian enterprises of the military-industrial complex should be perceived as the US response to the supply of modern weapons systems by Russia and the transfer of missile technologies to North Korea, Iran, and Syria, which pose risks to US regional interests.

In May, 79 senators and 303 congressmen from the Republican and Democratic Party called on Trump to increase pressure on Russia in connection with its activities in Syria. In April 2018, Russia delivered 40 Pantsir missile-cannon systems to Syria, and in October 2018, the S-300PM-2 anti-aircraft missile systems, short-range missiles.

Thanks to Russian military assistance, Syrian President Bashar Asad actually won a civil war over the opposition sponsored by the West. In Syria, there are Iranian military and armed Shiite groups.

At various times, Russia supplied S-300 and Pantsir complexes to Iran, which is now under US sanctions and does not want to abandon ballistic missiles, sponsors Islamic extremists in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, which pose a threat to American regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

 

Related: Zelensky wants to reach peace, but he asks for strengthening of sanctions against Russia. How should one understand this? - Medvedchuk

The US military bases in Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar are in the sight of Iranian missiles. It is possible that the Russians provide technology to North Korea for the production of ballistic missiles. There is an opinion that the technologies used in the Iskander Russian tactical complexes were present in the DPRK; they were tested on May 4 and 9.

The North Korean missiles might cover 28.5 thousand US military, who are in South Korea. With the help of the new sanctions, the United States wants to discourage Russia from exporting S-400 anti-missile systems capable of inflicting damage on subtle fighters. The Russian Federation sold these complexes to China and Turkey, the issue of delivery was discussed with Indian authorities.

Read the original text at 112.ua.

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